Turkey upset after mosques play WWII anti-fascist song

Updated 22 May 2020

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Blue Mosque of Istanbul at night. —Creative Commons/File
Blue Mosque of Istanbul at night. —Creative Commons/File

ANKARA: Turkish police on Thursday detained a woman after the public address systems of some mosques were allegedly hijacked and blared out a World War II-era Italian anti-fascist anthem.

The government and religious officials reacted angrily to the breaking of a religious taboo, mosques are supposed to only broadcast calls to prayer or other significant religious messages, accusing unnamed individuals of “sabotage”.

An unidentified woman was taken into custody, the official Anadolu news agency reported, without providing further details.

While the national religious body Diyanet filed a legal complaint and launched an internal inquiry, the Izmir prosecutor’s office said it would investigate the original incident as well as social media users who posted about it.

The song, ‘Bella Ciao’, has been adopted by leftists around the world but it has no particular association with religion and it was unclear why anyone would seek to broadcast it from mosques.

Published in Dawn, May 22nd, 2020